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Alexander: Govt throws reason out window

Tuesday, 18 May, 2004

Alexander: Govt throws reason out window

The Government has reduced itself to the level of a slathering street-corner ideologue with its pre-determined decision to close the privately run Auckland Central Remand Prison, United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

"Trying to reason with the Government on this is like trying to reason with a terrorist - there is no way through if one party is so blinkered by its own ideology," he said in response to the unbending Government refusal to countenance a privately managed prison that out-performs every State prison in the country.

Mr Alexander, whose SOP to the Corrections Bill calls for a review of the prison's performance before any decision is made to close it, has drawn the backing of seven iwi and former Government Minister Tariana Turia. "The Government position continues to be a mockery of common sense - and inherently dishonest insofar as the decision to close the prison has been made - and openly so - even before a review of the prison has been undertaken."

And it has been made despite all the available evidence, he said in Parliament today.

"We already know that the prison has consistently surpassed the required standards for the number of assaults, drug tests and complaints in monthly audits

"It is cheaper to run than a State prison, and has received performance bonuses for every quarter since it opened, yet under public management we've witnessed the disgrace of suicides, sexual liaisons between guards and inmates, and the infamous goon squad," Mr Alexander said the House.

He also asked Mr Swain why the Government continued to ignore the pleas of seven northern iwi not to change the management of the prison, at the same time he was signing off the $1.5 million spent by Correction to consult with Maori over the new Waikato prison.

"Pink think reigns supreme once again," Mr Alexander said.

ENDS

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